Pietro Nenni
Pietro Sandro Nenni was an Italian
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

Socialism is an economic system characterized by social ownership of the means of production and cooperative management of the economy; or a political philosophy advocating such a system. "Social ownership" may refer to any one of, or a combination of, the following: cooperative enterprises,...

 politician, the national secretary of the Italian Socialist Party
Italian Socialist Party
The Italian Socialist Party was a socialist and later social-democratic political party in Italy founded in Genoa in 1892.Once the dominant leftist party in Italy, it was eclipsed in status by the Italian Communist Party following World War II...

 (PSI) and lifetime Senator
Senator for life
A senator for life is a member of the senate or equivalent upper chamber of a legislature who has life tenure. , 7 Italian Senators out of 322, 4 out of the 47 Burundian Senators and all members of the British House of Lords have lifetime tenure...

 since 1970. He was a recipient of the Stalin Peace Prize in 1951. He was a central figure of the Italian left
Left-wing politics
In politics, Left, left-wing and leftist generally refer to support for social change to create a more egalitarian society...

 from the 1920s to the 1960s.

Early life and career

He was born in Faenza
Faenza is an Italian city and comune, in the province of Ravenna, Emilia-Romagna, situated 50 km southeast of Bologna.Faenza is noted for its manufacture of majolica ware glazed earthenware pottery, known from the name of the town as "faience"....

, in Emilia-Romagna
Emilia–Romagna is an administrative region of Northern Italy comprising the two historic regions of Emilia and Romagna. The capital is Bologna; it has an area of and about 4.4 million inhabitants....

. After his peasant parents died, he was placed in an orphanage by an aristocratic family. Every Sunday Nenni recited his catechism before the countess and if he did well received a silver coin. "Generous but humiliating", he recalled.

He affiliated with the Italian Republican Party
Italian Republican Party
The Italian Republican Party is a liberal political party in Italy.The PRI is party with old roots that originally took a left-wing position, claiming descent from the political position of Giuseppe Mazzini...

. In 1908 he became editor of a Republican paper in Forlì
Forlì is a comune and city in Emilia-Romagna, Italy, and is the capital of the province of Forlì-Cesena. The city is situated along the Via Emilia, to the right of the Montone river, and is an important agricultural centre...

. The socialist paper in the town was edited at the time by Benito Mussolini
Benito Mussolini
Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini was an Italian politician who led the National Fascist Party and is credited with being one of the key figures in the creation of Fascism....

 - the later Fascist dictator of Italy. Nenni was imprisoned in 1911 for his participation in the protest movement against the Italo-Turkish War
Italo-Turkish War
The Italo-Turkish or Turco-Italian War was fought between the Ottoman Empire and the Kingdom of Italy from September 29, 1911 to October 18, 1912.As a result of this conflict, Italy was awarded the Ottoman provinces of Tripolitania, Fezzan, and...

 in Libya
Libya is an African country in the Maghreb region of North Africa bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to the east, Sudan to the southeast, Chad and Niger to the south, and Algeria and Tunisia to the west....

, together with Mussolini.

First World War

When the First World War broke out, he advocated the intervention of Italy in the war. In 1915 he volunteered for the Isonzo front. After he was wounded and sent home, he became an editor of the Republican paper Mattine d'Italia. He defended Italy's participation in the war, trying not to alienate his socialist friends. In the last years of the war Nenni served at the front again.

When the war was over, he founded, together with some disillusioned revolutionary ex-servicemen, a group called "Fascio" which was soon dissolved and replaced by a real Fascist
Italian Fascism
Italian Fascism also known as Fascism with a capital "F" refers to the original fascist ideology in Italy. This ideology is associated with the National Fascist Party which under Benito Mussolini ruled the Kingdom of Italy from 1922 until 1943, the Republican Fascist Party which ruled the Italian...

 body. While the socialist Mussolini became a fascist, the republican Nenni joined the Socialist Party in 1921, at the moment of its split with the wing that would form the Communist Party
Italian Communist Party
The Italian Communist Party was a communist political party in Italy.The PCI was founded as Communist Party of Italy on 21 January 1921 in Livorno, by seceding from the Italian Socialist Party . Amadeo Bordiga and Antonio Gramsci led the split. Outlawed during the Fascist regime, the party played...


In 1923 (after the Fascist
Fascism is a radical authoritarian nationalist political ideology. Fascists seek to rejuvenate their nation based on commitment to the national community as an organic entity, in which individuals are bound together in national identity by suprapersonal connections of ancestry, culture, and blood...

 March on Rome
March on Rome
The March on Rome was a march by which Italian dictator Benito Mussolini's National Fascist Party came to power in the Kingdom of Italy...

, he became the editor of PSI's official voice, Avanti!
Avanti! (Italian newspaper)
Avanti! is an Italian daily newspaper, born as the official voice of the Italian Socialist Party, published since December 25, 1896. It took its name from its German counterpart Vorwärts.-History:...

, and engaged in anti-Fascist activism. In 1925 he was arrested for publishing a booklet on the Fascists' murder of Socialist leader Giacomo Matteotti
Giacomo Matteotti
Giacomo Matteotti was an Italian socialist politician. On 30 May 1924, he openly spoke in the Italian Parliament alleging the Fascists committed fraud in the recently held elections, and denounced the violence they used to gain votes...

. When the Avanti offices were set aflame and the paper prohibited in 1926, he took refuge in France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, where he became secretary of the PSI.

In exile

In Paris, where he had worked as correspondent of the Avanti in 1921, he became acquainted with Léon Blum
Léon Blum
André Léon Blum was a French politician, usually identified with the moderate left, and three times the Prime Minister of France.-First political experiences:...

 (socialist Prime Minister of France from 1936 to 1937), Marcel Cachin
Marcel Cachin
Marcel Cachin was a French politician.In 1891, Cachin joined Jules Guesde French Workers' Party . In 1905, he joined the new French Section of the Workers' International and won election to the Chamber of Deputies representing the Seine in 1914...

, Romain Rolland
Romain Rolland
Romain Rolland was a French dramatist, novelist, essayist, art historian and mystic who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1915.-Biography:...

 and Georges Sorel
Georges Sorel
Georges Eugène Sorel was a French philosopher and theorist of revolutionary syndicalism. His notion of the power of myth in people's lives inspired Marxists and Fascists. It is, together with his defense of violence, the contribution for which he is most often remembered. Oron J...

. Nenni went on to fight with the International Brigades
International Brigades
The International Brigades were military units made up of volunteers from different countries, who traveled to Spain to defend the Second Spanish Republic in the Spanish Civil War between 1936 and 1939....

 in the Spanish Civil War
Spanish Civil War
The Spanish Civil WarAlso known as The Crusade among Nationalists, the Fourth Carlist War among Carlists, and The Rebellion or Uprising among Republicans. was a major conflict fought in Spain from 17 July 1936 to 1 April 1939...

. He was the cofounder and political commissar of the Garibaldi Brigade
Garibaldi Battalion
The Garibaldi Battalion was a group of mostly Italian volunteers that fought in the Spanish Civil War from October 1936 to 1938...

. After the defeat of the Spanish Republic and the victory of General Francisco Franco
Francisco Franco
Francisco Franco y Bahamonde was a Spanish general, dictator and head of state of Spain from October 1936 , and de facto regent of the nominally restored Kingdom of Spain from 1947 until his death in November, 1975...

 he returned to France. In 1943 he was arrested by the Germans in Vichy France
Vichy France
Vichy France, Vichy Regime, or Vichy Government, are common terms used to describe the government of France that collaborated with the Axis powers from July 1940 to August 1944. This government succeeded the Third Republic and preceded the Provisional Government of the French Republic...

 and then imprisoned in Italy on the island of Ponza
Ponza is the largest of the Italian Pontine Islands archipelago, located 33 km south of Cape Circeo in the Tyrrhenian Sea. It also the name of the commune of the island, a part of the province of Latina in the Lazio region....


After being liberated in August 1943, he returned to Rome to lead the Italian Socialist Party which had been reunified as the Italian Socialist Party of Proletarian Unity. After the surrender of Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 with the Allied
Allies of World War II
The Allies of World War II were the countries that opposed the Axis powers during the Second World War . Former Axis states contributing to the Allied victory are not considered Allied states...

 armed forces on September 8, 1943, he was one of the political officials of the National Liberation Committee
National Liberation Committee
The National Liberation Committee was the underground political entity of Italian Partisans during the German occupation of Italy in the last years of the Second World War. It was a multi-party entity, whose members were united by their anti-fascism...

 - the underground political entity of Italian Partisans
Italian resistance movement
The Italian resistance is the umbrella term for the various partisan forces formed by pro-Allied Italians during World War II...

 during the German occupation.

Post-war politics

In 1944, he became the national secretary of the PSI again, favouring close ties between his party and the PCI. After the Liberation, he took up government responsibilities, becoming Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for the Constituent Assembly in the government of Ferruccio Parri
Ferruccio Parri
Ferruccio Parri was an Italian partisan and politician who served as the 43rd Prime Minister of Italy for several months in 1945. During the resistance he was known as Maurizio.-Biography:...

 and the first government of Alcide De Gasperi
Alcide De Gasperi
Alcide De Gasperi was an Italian statesman and politician and founder of the Christian Democratic Party. From 1945 to 1953 he was the prime minister of eight successive coalition governments. His eight-year rule remains a landmark of political longevity for a leader in modern Italian politics...

. He was Minister for the Constitution, and in October 1946 he became Minister for Foreign Affairs in the second De Gasperi government.

The close ties between the PSI and the PCI caused the Giuseppe Saragat
Giuseppe Saragat
Giuseppe Saragat was an Italian politician who was the fifth President of the Italian Republic from 1964 to 1971.Saragat was born in Turin, from Sardinian parents....

-led anti-Communist wing of the PSI to leave and form the Italian Socialist Workers' Party in 1947 (later merged into the Italian Democratic Socialist Party
Italian Democratic Socialist Party
The Italian Democratic Socialist Party is a minor social-democratic political party in Italy. Mimmo Magistro is the party leader. The PSDI, before the 1990s decline in votes and members, had been an important force in Italian politics, being the longest serving partner in government for Christian...

, PSDI).

In 1956 Nenni broke with the PCI after Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

's invasion of Hungary
1956 Hungarian Revolution
The Hungarian Revolution or Uprising of 1956 was a spontaneous nationwide revolt against the government of the People's Republic of Hungary and its Soviet-imposed policies, lasting from 23 October until 10 November 1956....

. He returned the Stalin Prize money ($25,000). Subsequently, he slowly led his party into supporting membership of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and closer European integration, and sought cooperation with the leading party, the Christian Democrats.

Opening to the centre-left

In the early 1960s he facilitated an "opening to the centre-left" enabling coalition governments between the PSI and the Christian Democrats and leading the Socialists back into power for the first time since 1947. He formed a centre-left coalition with Saragat, Aldo Moro
Aldo Moro
Aldo Moro was an Italian politician and the 39th Prime Minister of Italy, from 1963 to 1968, and then from 1974 to 1976. He was one of Italy's longest-serving post-war Prime Ministers, holding power for a combined total of more than six years....

 and Ugo La Malfa
Ugo La Malfa
Ugo La Malfa was an Italian politician, and an important leader in the Italian Republican Party, of which his son, Giorgio La Malfa, is now president.- Early years and anti-Fascist resistance :...

, and favored a reunion with the PSDI. From 1963 to 1968 he was Deputy Prime Minister in the three successive governments led by Moro and in December 1968 he became Minister for Foreign Affairs in the first government of Mariano Rumor
Mariano Rumor
Mariano Rumor was an Italian politician, a member of the Democrazia Cristiana and the 40th Prime Minister of Italy.He was born in Vicenza, Veneto...

, but resigned in July 1969 when the centre-left alliance collapsed.

Although the reunification attempts between the socialists and Giuseppe Saragat's breakaway Social Democrats resulted in the formation of a joint list Unified PSI–PSDI, both parties faired poorly in the 1968 Italian General Election. In 1969, a disillusioned Nenni virtually retired and Francesco De Martino
Francesco De Martino
Francesco de Martino was an Italian jurist, politician, lifetime senator and former interim Vice President of the Italian Republic...

 took his place. He resigned as head of the PSI and was made a senator for life
Senator for life
A senator for life is a member of the senate or equivalent upper chamber of a legislature who has life tenure. , 7 Italian Senators out of 322, 4 out of the 47 Burundian Senators and all members of the British House of Lords have lifetime tenure...

 in 1970 and in 1971 he ran unsuccessfully for president of Italy. In June 1979 was elected president of the Senate. He died in Rome on January 1, 1980. A daughter, Vittoria "Viva" Daubeuf, died in Auschwitz. She is memorialized in the writings of Charlotte Delbo
Charlotte Delbo
Charlotte Delbo, , was a French writer chiefly known for her haunting memoirs of her time as a prisoner in Auschwitz, where she was sent for her activities as a member of the French resistance.-Early life:...


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